Another Southern Writer Finds Love in the Ruins: A Review of Kevin Powers’ Latest

The opening paragraph of Kevin Power’s new novel, A Shout in the Ruins, is perhaps the finest beginning to a book I’ve read since Flannery O’Conner blew open the universe in the first paragraph of The Violent Bear It Away. Like that gem, Powers’ opener is all mood and tantalizing hooks that spark a thousand […]

A Book You Shouldn’t Read: The Unfortunate Autobiography of Carson McCullers

  The title promises more than it delivers.  Illumination and Night Glare, the unfinished autobiography of Carson McCullers, purports to be a chronicle of the artistic process, giving us insight into the inspirations (illumination) and trials (night glare) of McCullers’ life.  There is some of that in this slight book, but it retains its interest […]

What If We Can’t ‘Get Past’ Sex? A Review of Entangled

The following review was originally published on The Englewood Review of Books and is republished with permission. The author is Heartlands editor, Alex Joyner. What if questions of human sexuality are not something that the United Methodist Church (UMC), like other mainline Protestant denominations, have to settle and get past, but rather are the foundation on which the […]

House Burns. Farm Threatened. Christian Fiction Revived? A Review of This Heavy Silence

The cover of Christy, Catherine Marshall’s 1967 work of Christian fiction, has stared at me from a thousand church library shelves over the years. The original paperback version shows a young woman in early 20th-century dress seemingly dancing through a mountain meadow like Julie Andrews in the Alps. Catherine Marshall created Christy as a tribute […]

How to Hunker Down for Advent: A Review of Fleming Rutledge’s New Book

It’s Advent! In liturgically-oriented churches, tables and pulpits are draped in purple. (Or perhaps a dark shade of blue, which to my mind is a nefarious invention of the liturgical-industrial complex.) Four-candled wreaths tick off the Sundays before Christmas. In homes, Advent calendars adorn walls. And yet so much is missing. “I have never seen […]

What’s It Going to Take to Fix and Free the UMC?

Warning: United Methodist inside baseball ahead. One of the strongest selling points for the One Church Plan, (and one that I’ve made), is that it takes off the table the contentious, divisive debate over LGBTQ inclusion and allows us to focus on making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world—the stated mission […]